CHAPTER FOUR THE VICTIMS
Fifteen years ago, it would have been difficult to find anyone involved in either criminological research or any agency connected with criminal justice, who gave the problems of crime victims more than a passing thought. The primary interest then was focused on the motivation of the offender, as part of a search, either for general explanations of criminal behaviour, or for ways to prevent crime, particularly through rehabilitation or training. The victim was simply a source of information about the offending behaviour, or a witness when the case was heard in court. Today, however, interest in the aetiology of offending has waned dramatically, the focus of crime prevention strategies has shifted from offender rehabilitation to community action, and literature regarding crime victims is fast expanding.
It must be pointed out that this interest in victims is not only found inside these narrow professional circles. The professionals’ responses have themselves been stimulated and accelerated, both by a general climate of opinion, sympathetic towards crime victims, and by the activities of increasingly well organised and influential groups, set up specifically to assist or campaign on behalf of victims. In the recent past, newspapers, magazines and the broadcasting media have frequently featured stories or commented on issues related to victimisation. Not surprisingly, politicians have noticed which way the wind blows and governments of some countries have thus legislated improvements that address procedures which compensate the victims of crime (Maguire & Pointing 1988:1).
Whatever the case, it must be underscored that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Report (URC), and the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimisation Surveys (NCVS), usually provide annual tabulations of property and violent crimes, based on crimes reported to the police and household surveys. They do not, however, provide information regarding people who have been victims of fraud. These types of white-collar/economic crimes target individuals and employ deception in order to obtain illegal financial gain. This involves the misrepresentation of facts and the deliberate intent to deceive, with a promise of goods, services, or other financial benefits that, in fact, do not exist or that were never intended to be provided (Titus, Heinzelmann & Boyle 1999:179). Lured by the simplistic and often error-laden correspondence, balanced against the potential procuring of millions, norma l astute businessmen who come from very money-oriented societies vainly believe that they have the business acumen to deal profitably with what they see as a Third World country, never imaging the complexities and professionalism of the operation they are up against.
The criminal justice professionals and researchers have often highlighted the need for systematic information concerning the nature and extent of various economic crimes, including personal fraud, to influence both the action of potential victims and the policies and practices of the criminal justice system (Titus et al. 1999:180). Moreover, researchers and policy makers have not yet adequately addressed the needs of the victims of these crimes. The focus of legislation and victim assistance has been on the victims of interpersonal violence and street property crimes, not on the victims of economic crimes, including personal fraud. At the moment, research concerned with the nature of personal fraud is limited, and statistical data regarding these crimes and their victims is scarce.
Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to describe, analyse and comment on victims in terms of the nature or types, and incidences of AFF victimisation, victims’ characteristics, and the effects of AFF victimisation, especially on individuals, corporations and nations, and the theoretical explanation of this type of victimisation. In this chapter, the findings of the empirical research of AFF vi ctims will also be integrated into the literature research.
First, the categories of victims and the concept victimisation will be examined as it relates to AFF.
CATEGORIES OF VICTIMS
Literature research indicates that not every crime has a direct, tangible, and easily identifiable victim. Acts that are prohibited and made punishable by penal law may thus be classified, according to the type of victims involved. In this case, Fattah (1991:90-96) classified the following categories of victims:
Crimes against specific victims
According to Fattah (1991:92) most conventional crimes are committed against specific, individual victims, referred to in law as the wronged, injured, or harmed party. This party can either be a natural person, juridical persons (a corporate body), or an animal. A natural person, in this case, is a human being, whether alive or dead. Certain offences, such as homicide, assault causing bodily harm and rape can only be perpetrated against a natural, live person. Dead people may also be the victim of some offences, such as in the case of desecrating dead bodies or tombs.
It should be noted that the modern penal law recogni ses the existence of juridical persons, that is, a number of natural persons grouped together in some form of association who have rights and obligations distinct from those of the individual members. The law acknowledges that juridical persons can be victims of crimes committed against patrimony, homer and so forth. In general, juridical persons may be public corporations, private corporations or international organisation (Fattah 1991:92). These are common victims of frauds in general, and AFF in particular.
Crimes against non-specific victims
Research indicates that all criminal offences, whether against specific individuals or not, are supposed to be harmful to one or several social, political, legal, or religious institutions. However, there is a whole category of offences that, by their very nature, are not directed against a specific person, natural or juridical (Fattah 19991:93). In such cases, the victim is merely an abstraction, for it is not a definable, identifiable individual who is wrong or who suffers the injurious or harmful effects of the offences. Public peace is the abstract victim of offences such as the acts of propagating false news or rumours likely to cause fear among people, or acts of inciting people to disobey the law. Public authority is collectively victimised in cases of rebellion, the escape of prisoners and defilement of monuments. The constitution is the abstract victim in cases where the administrative and judicial statutes are violated or in cases of conspiracy by government officials (Fattah 1991:93).
Crimes against a potential victim
In this case, the offence is not perpetrated against a specific individual. Nobody is actually harmed, though the dangerous nature of the act implies a threat of potential harm to an, as yet, undetermined victim. Such is the case with all illegal possession of offensive weapons, dangerous driving or driving while one’s faculties are impaired. In all these cases, the offences are determined by the perpetration of the act, even if no actual harm has resulted from it (Fattah 1991:93).
Crimes without victims
It must be underscored that in some offences, there is no victim, only two offenders who jointly perpetrate the prohibited act. A classical example is the case of incest between two consenting adults. In some jurisdictions, the law prohibits homosexual acts and other sexual deviation among adults. The two parties involved may be charged and convicted. If, in any of these incidents, one of the two individuals involved is a consenting or willing minor, the criminal law establishes a legal presumption in his or her favour, thus assigning him or her the designation of a victim (Fattah 1991:93). It mus t, however, be noted that this legal presumption of victimisation is established by the law in favour of minors, regardless of the facts of the case and the actual roles of the two parties in the commission of the offence.
Rubin (1971) defines victimless crimes as “… behaviour not injurious to others but made criminal by statutes based on moral standards which disapprove of certain forms of behaviour while ignoring others that are comparable”. Packer (1968:67) views victimless crimes as “… offences that do not result in anyone’s feeling that he has been injured so as to impel him to bring the offence to the attention of the authorities”, and Schur (1965) who use the term “crimes without victim” defines the concept as referring to “… the willing exchange, among adults, of strongly demanded but legally proscribed goods or services” (Fattah 1991:94).
In some offences the victim may be a united person. This is the situation Von Hentig (Fattah 1991:93) refers to as the “doer-sufferer”: an individual who combines the roles of the victim and the offender. The wounded party in duels and suicide attempts and individuals who mutilate themselves or get another to mutilate them to escape compulsory military service are all “doer-sufferers” liable to different sanctions in most jurisdictions. An act deemed harmful, dangerous, or threatening need not have a real victim or specific victim to qualify as a criminal offence. There are, however, certain offences that cannot be easily classified in any of the previous categories. In such cases, there may be no discernible harm, and if the act involved any harm at all it is primarily harm to the participating individual’s themselves.
Based on the above-mentioned types of victims, the next section will deal with victimisation as it relates to AFF.
Victimisation is a process
According to the South African Law Commission (1997:3), victimisation is a process whereby a victim, either innocently, through negligence or intentionally, is exposed to the negligent and/or intentional unlawful conduct of a criminal, which is prohibited by law. It is not limited to conduct which the victim regards as criminal, but it includes the feelings, responses and the community’s attitude towards the victim. From a humanistic perspective, victimisation is the process whereby a person (s) suffers harm through the violation of national criminal laws or of internationally recognised norms relating to human rights (NCPS Victim Empowerment Program June 1997).
The choice of AFF criminal victimisation and the decision not to deal with other types of victimisation is not meant to suggest that AFF criminal victimisation is more serious, more harmful, or more injurious than other types. Nor should it be interpreted as suggesting that the material cost of, and the human sufferings resulting from, AFF criminal victimisation are more substantial, more traumatic, or longer lasting than those caused by other forms of victimisation. However, for theoretical as well as practical considerations, it is necessary to circumscribe the chapter and to reduce the enormously vast field of general victimisation to a single manageable area (AFF victimisation).
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY
1.2THE AIMS AND METHOD (S) OF STUDY
1.3DELIMITATION AND SCOPE OF THE FIELD OF STUDY
1.5RESARCH PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED
1.6DIVISION OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER TWO: THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE CRIMES
2.2 ORIGIN OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD
2.3 NATURE AND FORMS OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD
2.4 THE INCIDENCE OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD
2.5 CAUSES OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD
2.6 THEORETICAL EXPLANATION OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD
CHAPTER THREE: THE PERPETRATORS
3.2 THE NATURE AND ORGANIZATION OF AFF PERPETRATORS
3.3 CHARACTERISTICS OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD PERPETRATORS
3.4 THE 419 PERPETRATOR’S EMAIL CYCLE
3.5 MODUS OPERANDI OF PERPETRATORS
3.6 THEORETICAL EXPLANATION OF PERPETRATORS
CHAPTER FOUR: THE VICTIMS
4.2 CATEGORIES OF VICTIMS
4.5 CHARACTERISTICS OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD VICTIMS
4.6 EFFECTS OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD VICTIMIZATION
4.7 THEORETICAL EXPLANATION OF ADVANCE FEE FRAUD VICTIMIZATION
CHAPTER FIVE: ADJUDICATION
5.2 CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS
5.3 ADJUDICATION PROBLEMS
CHAPTER SIX: PREVENTION
6.2 THE APPLICATION OF CRIME PREVENTION
6.3 ADVANCE FEE FRAUD PREVENTION
6.4 NATIONAL INITIATIVES
6.5 DIFFICULTIES IN THE PREVENTION OF AFF
CHAPTER SEVEN: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.5 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
7.6 CONCLUDING REMARKS
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
ADVANCE FEE FRAUD